BUS STRIKE IN TAMIL NADU
An indefinite strike is encountered by the anguished employees of Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation on May 15th, 2017 on the account of unfulfilled demands to release the funds for the arrears of the employees with Retirement Benefits and Provident Funds thereby leaving several passengers stranded. Ten major unions, including the Labour Progressive Federation (affiliated to DMK) and CITU which had called for the agitation, took part in the strike. While the government insisted on dropping the strike, the union leaders demanded a permanent solution for addressing the issues related to payment of pension amount due to the employees.
According to the reports, there is no relief in the form of budgetary allocations. The retirement benefits of 13,000 former employees, who retired from service more than 3 years ago, are not being paid yet and this amount currently stands at Rs.1500 crore. Also, from the previous 4 days, the transport department has been incurring heavy losses – as high as Rs.5 crore a day. It seems that the expenditure now has become more than the income for these employees.
Hence, the employees are compelled to setup the protest against the government by not running government buses until the government heeds to their request. This will cause most of the buses to be off on road except the ones run by AIADMK union drivers. However, the services of private bus operators will be sought to minimise the impact of the strike. The government may even contemplate imposing the Essential Services Management Act as the strike is likely to affect the supply of essential items like vegetables, milk and medicines.
Also, in the view of proposed strike by the TNSTC employees and based on the request from the Tamil Nadu Government, the Southern Railway will be running special trains from Chennai – Coimbatore, Chennai-Tirunelveli and Chennai-Tiruvarur sectors on May 15. These special trains are expected to jointly benefit more than 16,000 people. Even, the Commissioner of police Karan Singha held a meeting with the top officials from Transport and Revenue Department and finally decided that adequate number of police personnel under respective officers will be deployed before the CMBT, head office of Metropolitan Transport Corporation on Pallvan Salai, bus depots and stops. The police control rooms will function in close co-ordination and render quick services to public. Also, Recovery vehicles will be stationed at important junctions to help these passengers for the time being until the strike gets removed.